I am a cat lover. So when I first met this cat I was heartbroken. Then I learned more about her special abilities, and more so, about her special family.
I was in North Carolina on business this past week and stayed in a corporate condo.
As I was making my way into the condo, a grey cat hopped on the porch and proceeded to walk inside like she owned the place. I got my luggage inside, and after receiving some serious head-butting, and rubbing on everything she could reach, I shooed her outside.
I went out later to get dinner, and a neighbor stopped and said, “You’ll probably see a black cat that’s very friendly. She has a broken back. She belongs to us.” I said I had just been visited, but the cat looked fine. He said I’d meet the black cat.
When I awoke the next morning, I heard a cat meowing, I looked out and there was the black cat – sitting in the middle of the back patio. She sounded like she hadn’t eaten in days.
I went outside, and was horrified. This lovely little cat made her way over to me, scooting, using only her front legs. Her hind legs curled up front – kind of like a shrimp.
My heart was broken. All I could think was, how could they let this cat fend for herself? She was starving, and she was stuck in the back yard of the condo. How long had she been there?
I didn’t have any food suitable for a cat. And I had to get to work.
So I mentioned the cat to my colleagues. Yes, they knew about the cat. Another person who stayed in the condo felt sorry for the cat and fed her. And they thought about calling the humane society to pick her up. The assumption was that she was injured and dumped.
I told them she lived next door. Oh. That changes everything.
So, that evening I bought cat food. I went outside, but didn’t see the cat. Then in a flash, she emerged from the bushes, clamoring to be fed. I put the food down for her – and her grey friend. They gobbled it up.
So we sat and chatted, and as they rubbed (pretty hefty head-butts) and I petted, I could tell that these were two very well-tended cats.
But I was worried the black cat was stuck in the yard. I didn’t know how long she’d been there, how she got in, I continued to worry.
So I stuck a note on the neighbor’s door. Are you the owner of the black cat? I’m concerned she can’t get out of the yard, and I’m afraid to pick her up because of her back. I’ll be back after 6pm tonight.
I got a knock on the door at 6:15. I met the owner, Tony, who said, yes it’s his family cat, and yes, she can come and go as she pleases. Then I got her backstory.
Tony used to live near a busy street, she was a stray that showed up one day and hung around. Then she was hit by a car. He took her to the vet who said there was nothing that could be done to help her – she’ll either make it or not. Tony took her home to convalesce and let nature take its course.
Now as an animal lover, and specifically as a cat lover, I would consider the pain she was in and wonder what kind of life she would have. How could she survive?
Meeting this cat made me think differently.
Tony told me that she likes to hang out at the corporate condo because she knows the residents, who come and go each week, will feed her. Quite well, indeed.
He also said that she can climb stairs, and has climbed a tree, comes and goes under the fence between the condos as she pleases – and she’s not in pain.
And her name is Stray.
Sitting on the step those four nights with Stray and her grey friend made me realize how we often give up before we give a chance. I’m not into letting an animal suffer, but more than that, after being a cat owner for my entire life (or do they own us?), I do believe they know how to adapt – and when to let go – better than any of us higher-thinking individuals.
There are a lot of lessons here.
By the way, a special thank you to the family who decided to take care of this amazing cat, that is also an amazing little teacher.
I also have a video of this amazing cat here.